What Happened To Laser Pointers?

I recently talked about gaming advancements that didn't exist when I started but now seem to be everywhere. This one is kind of the opposite: Whatever happened to laser pointers?

Sure, they're still around, but for a few minutes in the late 1990s, they seemed to be omnipresent. Admittedly, that might be because I worked retail that had them on display, but I recall them being kind of everywhere among certain folks. Nowadays, they require more hunting to find.

Which is too bad. They're really handy at the game table, especially on games with intricate or fiddly board states. With a laser pointer, I can highlight one feature amid lots of other chits or pieces I'd prefer not to disturb ("Let me confirm: You want to open this door, which definitely doesn't have a pit in front of it?"). Even teaching rules is easier when I can draw attention to specific elements on a card or board as I go over various elements.

I still have my decades-old pointer, and I see that they're available on Amazon, but it just feels different these days. Someone who knows more than I do might have insight into why the seemingly ubiquitous red-dot pew-pews aren't commonplace anymore (or if my own perceptions were distorted by the era of Surge cola and original Doritos 3D); if so, you're welcome to share your insights on the forums. Of course, if there are any other gaming goodies that seem less common than you remember, feel free to walk with me down memory lane with your own recollections.

-- Steven Marsh